Tottenham 2-0 Brighton: Son Heung-min strikes again as Spurs bounce back
Goals from Serge Aurier and Son Heung-min helped Tottenham Hotspur see off Brighton & Hove Albion and climb back into the top four of the Premier League. Following a difficult spell, Spurs have responded with back-to-back wins and moved above Liverpool, who could only draw 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion.
There was more than a hint of fortune about Aurier’s first goal for Spurs, when his cross from the right touchline somehow evaded keeper Matt Ryan. The Seagulls, who are three points above the drop-zone, put up stern resistance on a cold night at Wembley Stadium but conceded a killer second goal three minutes before time when Son headed in Christian Eriksen’s free-kick.
Here are three talking points…
Confidence restored as Spurs bounce back
This was a potential coupon-buster, but Tottenham coped well against a stubborn Brighton outfit that had made the trip to London with the aim of frustrating their exalted opponents. Seagulls boss Chris Hughton would have hoped his side could prey on the anxiety of Spurs’ supporters, who had seen their side suffer a downturn in results since their famous Champions League victory over Real Madrid.
But a fortuitous first goal set them on their way as Tottenham made it two consecutive home wins that have restored their brittle confidence. Other results have also been favourable, with Liverpool and Arsenal having dropped points to enable Mauricio Pochettino’s men to return to the top four, albeit on goal difference.
However, tougher tests await – none more so than the trip to the Etihad to face runaway leaders Manchester City this Saturday evening. Will Spurs be the team that end the Cityzens’ 15-match win sequence?
Toothless Brighton are on the slide
Nobody expected Brighton to play on the front foot in a fixture for which they were rank outsiders. The match statistics were revealing; the Seagulls enjoyed just a quarter of possession and fashioned seven shots compared with the home side’s 25.
Self-preservation is the order of the day for many of the ‘lesser’ sides when facing opponents such as Tottenham. But with so little of the ball over the course of the 90 minutes, leaving with anything other than a defeat is a mightily tough ask. As it was, Brighton defended manfully but offered so little going forward that, once Spurs were in front, only one result seemed possible.
Much like their fellow newcomers Huddersfield Town, the Seagulls look relatively safe as it stands. But after a bright start to life in the top-flight, Hughton’s charges are now six games without a win. And in the Premier League, a decline can be hard to arrest.
Free-scoring Son strikes again
The South Korean rubber-stamped Tottenham’s victory with second and final goal of the game, on 87 minutes. It extended his goal streak to four matches and further underlined his importance to the side. After scoring 14 Premier League goals last season, the 25-year-old now has five to his name in the current campaign.
He is proving an excellent foil for Harry Kane, perhaps more so than Fernando Llorente, who was brought to the club to try to ease the burden on the England striker. Son’s versatility makes him a vital cog in the machine. He is capable of playing as an out-and-out striker, although most of his success has come from the left side of a front three.
Erik Lamela’s return to first-team action after spending more than a year on the sidelines was another timely boost to Pochettino and increases competition in the squad. But Son has been a consistent performer for 18 months and offers reliability that has earned the trust of his manager.